When Your Soul is Helpless

Psalm 86:1, A Cry for Help

(A prayer of David)

1″Lord, listen to me and answer me.
I am poor and helpless.”

There is a poverty that far exceeds anything physical.  It is not tied to our checking account or our investment portfolio.  We are poor people; quite destitute as a clear matter of fact.  We are penniless, and truly destitute of all things spiritual.  We don’t have, rather we  owe.

We are really nothing more than helpless beggars.  

Some of us gather at the King’s gate, truly assured we are nothing more than “sinners saved by a wondrous grace”.  We have to admit, we can never earn or achieve a spot in heaven.  This is quite embarrassing for us, that there is such a social pressure to be good and proper. (Funny, but yesterday I went out for a bit and when I got home I discover my pants were unzipped.  I was mortified.  But this brought home to me the embarrassment of being “undone”).

In some infinitesimal way, I was tapping into this deep feeling of being undone and shamed. But without knowing this sensation (spiritually speaking) we will go to our graves trying to excuse ourselves, and trying to avoid admitting our sin.  We point to our environment, trying to divert attention to something or someone else.

Jesus told us in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit… and blessed are those who mourn.”  It seems we are not suppose to attain, but obtain.  To take a certain forgiveness and a sincere mercy from Him.  He will give it freely to any who sense their need.  If you don’t ask, you simply will not receive.

King David spiritually understood his own poverty before the Almighty.  In spite of his deep weakness and evil, he knew that God was still approachable, and that He was listening to anything and everything David shared with Him.  This is a whole another level of faith.  It strikes us as arrogant and slightly outrageous.  “David, the cold and unfeeling murderer– the ugly adulterer?  How can this be?”

But it takes poverty to become “poor in spirit.”  What I mean is this.  To be a sinner, we must’ve sin.  We become beggars, by begging.  We need to stand at the corner, with our cardboard sign and our cup and confront others with our desperate need. We must do this spiritually.

In our discipleship, we simply can’t unhitch the wagon from our spiritual poverty.  We are exactly who we are.  Luther once said, “Sin boldly, but believe in God more boldly still.”  If we think that he was permitting sin, we are being astonishingly stupid.  Through this quote we come to a truth, allowing us to just accept who we are– “world-class” sinners! But also to believe, deep down, in a God who loves us profoundly and completely.


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Author: Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)

One thought on “When Your Soul is Helpless”

  1. Love you bro. I wanted you to know, since I walked away from a lot of people in my life last July, that besides my flesh and blood, the only people from my life before August I’ve kept in touch with in any way, are you, Jon Coe and my old temporary roommate Ky. You guys made an impression on me, and are the only ones I’ve made time for, amongst the other new people in my life from here on wordpress. I’ve found more acceptance and understanding in friendships with other creatives/writers here than I did with past people who were quick to misjudge, misunderstand and ostracize. I know I talk much less with you now than I used to on facebook, but I still read your blog posts every day. God bless you Bryan :)


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